EDMONTON, Alberta, May 21, 2014 ( – A Canadian archbishop will not allow Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to turn to what the pro-abortion politician called his “very Catholic” upbringing to defend his recent edict that only “pro-choice” candidates will be nominated for his party.

“The use of one’s Catholic identity to justify a pro-abortion stance would mystify anyone familiar with the Catholic Church’s unshakable commitment to the protection of all human life, beginning with the child in the womb,” wrote Edmonton Archbishop Richard W. Smith in a piece that appeared today in the Edmonton Journal.

Earlier this week Trudeau, in an email sent to his supporters, said that his personal views — like those of his father before him — were informed by his Catholic faith. Despite facing massive backlash from both sides of the abortion debate, Trudeau declared: “When it comes to actively supporting women’s rights, our party must speak with one voice.”

“Our utmost responsibility is to stand up for people’s rights,” he said.

Smith called it “abhorrent” that someone claiming to stand up for “people’s rights” would “exclude an entire category of humanity, namely children in the womb.”

“A pro-abortion stance is irreconcilable with Catholicism. Period.”

Smith also took issue with what he called Trudeau’s “lack of understanding” of the current legal status of abortion.

“He bases his self-defence on the belief that the right to an abortion is protected in this country by our Constitution. This is wrong. There is no constitutional right to abortion in Canada.”

“When the Supreme Court of Canada in January 1988 struck down the law of the day dealing with abortion, it simply asserted that the particular law in question was unconstitutional. Far from thus establishing a constitutional right, the Supreme Court justices indicated in that same decision that Parliament could act to restrict access to abortion,” he said.

Smith quoted the often-cited words of then-Chief Justice Brian Dickson who said at that time that the “protection of fetal interests by Parliament is also a valid governmental objective.”

“What we have in our country is not a constitutional right to abortion, but a failure of political leadership to address the matter,” Smith wrote.

Smith also took issue with Trudeau’s abortion edict, saying that a “‘no choice but pro-choice’ position is anything but clear; it is, rather, self-contradictory.”

“On matters of such fundamental import for the common good, we need all elected officials of every party to be free to make decisions on the basis of conscience, whose dictates are discerned through careful deliberation and not predetermined by the party leader,” he said.

Other bishops to speak out since Trudeau’s controversial decision include Calgary Bishop Fred Henry, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, and Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto.


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